or are we?
family(n) a group of people related to one another by blood or marriage; friends and family can provide support.
i wrote to my siblings on March 22, 2013 announcing my most recent swim in the mental disorder pool. the second part of the definition above troubles me. i’ll do a review of my family support structure since then.
oldest sister: I am probably closest to her. we are separated by ten years and one day. she always voices her appreciation for me not being born on her birthday. she had a long planned trip, years in the making, to the area. communication happened to coordinate that, not much more. in her visit, I never remember us talking about my situation. she calls for celebration days; birthdays, thanksgiving, christmas, but still months go between calls. we shared some truly excited interest on our last call. I told her about a book I am writing. she uses many of the ideas that I will develop in the book in her work. she looks forward to see what i develop.
oldest brother: I get a christmas (cash) gift card from him every year. I get a beautiful calendar he produces using photos he has taken throughout the year.
middle brother: he has contacted me twice _through_ my middle sister. the first time he wanted help picking out a new computer. the second time he had questions on how to install old programs on his new machine. i guess i meet the qualifications to answer the questions, but I didn’t even feel like the most qualified person in the family. more about him later.
middle sister: we had a tight relationship at one time. things fell apart when my dad died. she served as the conduit for the computer questions. one time in one of those calls she actually asked about how I was doing. beyond that, not much more has happened.
youngest sister: she lives in the area, also. so we had communication to coordinate my oldest sister’s visit. she suffers with depression, also. nothing like two siblings fighting wit depression trying to fight through isolation and make a call.
you would be right in saying I could have picked up the phone and made a call at anytime. maybe you’ve never dealt with a full blown case of isolation. for me, i always struggle with feeling worthy. depression makes that struggle all the harder. i reach a point where i don’t feel worthy to make calls to my friends or even my dysfunctional family members. isolation feels like living in a prison with no bars. even though no bars are present to hold me in, there doesn’t appear to be a way out. isolation sucks! it sucks the life right out of me.
I promised more about my middle brother. we have been on similar tracks for about the last year, me with depression and he with cancer. i try not to get resentful on the difference in treatment, but it keeps getting more and more difficult.
my middle sister has bedn his advocate. she sends out regular updates on how he is doing and the progress he is experiencing. she lines up transportation for him to his cancer treatments; his cancer makes it not possible to drive the eight hours to his cancer treatments.
the topper came this last week when i got an email request for his financial support. i won’t be participating; something about not having worked for two years and having to dip into retirement just to get by.
i guess I’m glad my brother still has a “family” and support. i hold nothing against him, personally. but, i an part of that family structure, too, i know because i continue to get the updates and request for support.
my question is where is my support from my family beyond the maybe two dozen or so phone calls i have received in the last two years? i can tell you, absent. I find that sad, real sad.